welcome to kells

Ireland’s Ancient East


One of the most unique and special destinations in the world, Kells welcomes you to come and explore and be a part of the special story of this Heritage Town.

Based in the Boyne Valley Region (birthplace of Ireland’s Ancient East), Kells is one of the reasons that Ireland is referred to as the Land of Saints and Scholars. It contributed heavily to keeping the light of learning alive in Europe during the Dark Ages. For this reason Kells is on the tentative list to become a World Heritage Site with UNESCO.

Here also was where the famous Book of Kells was completed and protected in this “City of God” for over 800 years before being moved to Trinity College in the late 17th century.

Previous to that, Kells was central to the story of the pre-Olympic Games of Ireland – the Tailteann Games -in legend dated to 1897 B.C. – and possibly a contributor to the Ancient Olympic Games in Greece.

Below are the four main stratas in the history of our town.


The town of Kells (Ceanannus Mór – “Head Fort”) has a rich and ancient history. Thousands of years ago it was used as a royal residence for the High Kings of Ireland.

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Kells has one of the finest collections of early Christian artefacts in Ireland. Come and follow the footsteps of the monks and grasp a sense of life in the 6th century.

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The town of Kells has always been an important trading post, situated as it was on one of the five ancient roads of Ireland. It receieved a Market Charter from Walter de Lacy in the 12 century.

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With the arrival of the Normans, large estates became a feature of Ireland. These estates were a feature of the landscape of Kells and have helped shape the way it looks now.

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